Historical towns, washi paper and Ninja Gleg attains Nirvana

This morning we caught train and bus to Udatsu (Wakimachi) in the misty Japanese rain – the scenery was spectacular with low clouds hovering around the mountains – peaks enveloped by the rolling white clouds. The historical townscape is charming, originally the home to many wealthy merchants these rows of fine classic houses have been preserved and maintain the architectural heritage of the era. The town of Wakimachi was an indigo dying centre – a traditional craft of Japan. There were few people around and the misty rain has added a melancholy touch to the photography.

We then caught a bus and train and hiked a little while though charming scenery to the Awa handmade paper factory – it was devine and the techniques outstandingly labour intensive – but the end product is classic simplicity Zen. The washi was so beautiful its image deserved to be captured.

Kanoji Temple – 16th Temple on the 88 Pilgrimage – This templed was built as one of the imperial prayer temples by Emperor Shomu. According to the miracle legend one can calm down a crying baby at night by praying to the stone image of Yonaki-jizo, the crying chidlren’s guardian deity) – she is located as you walk in the gate an imposing but warm figure in this relatively austere temple. Do as the pilgrims do – I had a piece of paper (from Awa washi) stamped and calligraphy added by the officials – beautiful work – stunning – it is a little treasure. The pilgrims fill books with these stamps and official calligraphy – the books are works of art in themselves.

We walked through a beautiful park on route from temple 16 and there were children playing with a frisby type plastic Ninja star – they were having a ball – it was an entrancing area – see the photo of the building with Japan flag.

On our return to Tokushima after big day out we walked around the garden of former Tokushima Palace. The front garden of the Shoin style palace was used by a line of feudal lords of Awa (historical name for Tokushima). The rocks and the water imparted a serene and calming effect – it is truly Zen. See the rock garden photo and the swans (black and white photo).

As for the Ninja – he is currently in a resting state – after long contemplative day – and joy and delight to discover vending machine dispenses his favourite Ashahi beer in 1000ml cans – Nirvana compared to my heavenly G & T in the 500ml can.

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